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joluoto

Why is House Stark so small

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Noble families tend to be big, with several branches, side families and so on. This seem to be true in Westeros where we learn both Houses Lannister and Tyrrel are huge with several more distant relatives belonging to the House (and House Frey is of course the worst example of a family grown too large).

But why is House Stark so small? I know one reason in Brandon was killed and Benjen took the black, but shouldn't Ned have had cousins and uncles with the Stark name? How has the Starks managed to stay this small? I know the Karstarks is a Cadet Branch, but they were formed many generations ago. Shouldn't there be more Cadet branches of House Stark? Or has the Starks favored a policy that the Lord's brothers always take the black once the succession is secured?

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Actually, GRRM explained quite in detail the reasons there are so few Starks:

-Current generation: There are a lot of them (Jon, Rickon, Bran, Arya, Sansa, and Robb, who is dead).

-Ned's generation: Ned married and had children, Lyanna was kidnapped before marrying Robert and died before being rescued, Brandon died before marrying (there may be a few of his bastards around), Benjen joined the NW.

-Lord Rickard's (Ned's dad) generation: He was an only son. There may be a reason, but GRRM didn't explain it (he didn't have his notes at hand).

-Lord Rickard's father's generation: A man (Lord Rickards father) and a woman, who married a lord of the Vale and whose descendants still live there.

-Lord Rickard's grandfather's generation: At least one Stark (the current lord) killed while fighting Raymund Redbeard's army of wildlings, that climbed the Wall and invaded the North. That Lord Stark had a brother that survived the war; I don't know if the next lord was said brother or a child of the Lord Stark killed by wildlings.

-A hundred years ago: Many Starks died during the Skagosi rebellion (at least one Stark, the current lord, was killed), the Blackfyre rebellion, Lord Dagon Greyjoy's rebellion and other conflicts. At some point all the male Starks had left Winterfell to go to war, leaving only the females, the so called "she-wolves".

-The Dance of Dragons (more than a hundred years ago): 'Nuff said.

-Previous generations: There are more relatives around, most of them through the female line, but there may be some Starks around; they are, however, too far removed and too low in the food chain to be relevant; Robb doesn't even know them, they are like those Arryns that are little more that hedge knights travelling from tourney to tourney or those those other Arryns who married merchants, or the Lannisters of Lannisport.

-Before that: The Boltons and other rebellions.

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Regarding the stuff that happend in the south like the Blackfyre Rebellions and the Dance of Dragons, the Starks don't appear to have had any doing with that. It wasn't until Rickon Stark that they began to deal with the south and get involved with their messes.

As for the orginal question, it's because plot demands the Starks not having any backups, and goes for most other houses. Why aren't there more Baratheons, Tullys, Martells?

Also, the Lannisters, Tyrells and Freys are rich enough to afford having many relatives, the Starks aren't that rich given they were nitpicking about the costs of Robert's visit, and having many relatives would mean them starting their own things and having castles and such.

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Its all cyclical. Ned's generation would have been larger, his children's generation was originally going to be larger (until recent events). Ned's father was smaller, sure. I think its also a function of the North's climate/environment. It is less populous than any other area (Dorne?) and this probably extends to the family of the major House as well.

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Ser Lepus explains it very well, but the next Dunk and Egg story will provide us more information on the reasons of the lack of collateral Starks. Aparently, by then all Stark males have been killed and Wintefell is ruled by the "She-wolves", a group of widows and daughters (one of them pregnant).

But generally the reason probably is that the North is a much more dangerous place than the South: Winter, wildlings, ironborn raids, plus jyounger sons joining the Night's Watch make for fewer lines.

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Plot reasons. The list Ser Lepus posted explains a lot, but an 8000 year old family should have millions of descendants, with at least a few thousand of highborn ones and dozens of different branches.

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Plot reasons. The list Ser Lepus posted explains a lot, but an 8000 year old family should have millions of descendants, with at least a few thousand of highborn ones and dozens of different branches.

Yeah considering how old House Stark is there should be more off shoots then the Karstarks and Graystarks, and most of the Houses up North should be interlocked with House Stark considering how isolated the North is from the rest of the Kingdoms.

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